Apr
27

Good Shepherd Sunday (Easter II)

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Second Sunday after Easter

The Good Shepherd

 

The collect, the Epistle, and the Gospel of this second Sunday after Easter, they all portray Jesus as a shepherd. More importantly, the Good Shepherd.

The Symbolism of the Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd symbolizes Christ the Savior, “I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep” (John 10:11). The Shepherd represents Jesus who will search devotedly for even one lost Child of God until it is found (Luke 15). This shows the special connection the shepherd has with the sheep. He knows them by name. Among thousand and thousand of other sheep is able to recognize the voice of his own sheep. Unlike a hired hand, the good shepherd will risk all to protect what is his.

How far will the good shepherd go? Jesus tells us that he will lay down his life for his sheep. That’s the new way of living that Jesus is teaching us today. Lay down your life somebody. Have ever done that before? It is not what we are used to. We are used to holding onto things so tightly. It is so hard for most of us to let go. But our lives will be full, most full of love, when we are most willing to give love away.  We empty ourselves to be filled. We give to receive. We lay down to take up. We set down power to gain power.

Now, you may be asking yourselves why Jesus needed to lay down his precious life for us. The answer to that question is that we all have sinned! And because of our sin we have lost our rights to have eternal life. The only way to enter heaven and enjoy eternal life is to accept Jesus the Good Shepherd. Either you like or not, His blood was shed as payment for our sins. But he is alive and he lives as our shepherd today.

The description of the Good Shepherd

He will never abandon the sheep. He will go after the one that gets lost and will make sure he finds him and bring him back into the fold. The Good Shepherd is compassionate.

Are you looking for a picture of true shepherding? Jesus says: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me”. Jesus is concerned to bring together and unite his flock. When one sheep strays for any reason, Jesus doesn’t criticize him. He doesn’t gossip about him. He doesn’t gather the other 99 around to demonize him. Jesus goes out to find him and restore him to the fold. He is the one who will heartedly fight until death for the well-being of the sheep. That’s what a shepherd does. That’s what the clergy, Bishops and Priests, they are called to do. Now, let me not go any further.

The great shepherd will do whatever it takes to protect His sheep. We remember in the garden, that Adam shepherded the animals and gave them names. Jesus as the second Adam becomes the One who calls the sheep by name. Jesus is also the greater Moses. Moses was a shepherd for 40 years in the wilderness defending his sheep from the enemies. Jesus defends His sheep from the enemies’ attack. In fact, shepherding is a first step to becoming a king. The first two kings of Israel are shepherds before they become kings. We see Saul and David as shepherds before they assume the greatest of all roles as kings shepherding a nation. The role of the shepherd is to lead His sheep into victory; into green pastures, says Psalm 23.

I encourage you to pray for your Priests and Bishops so that they may be good shepherds taking good care of the flock entrusted to them.

Let me be clear about this. We clergy are not perfect. We are just human beings like you and we who are called to a huge, difficult, self-sacrificing, but very rewarding task. Which is to lead you to eternal life through the gospel proclamation, through bread and wine, and through exhortation and encouragement to live faithfully to your calling. Our request as your priests is that you would remember us in prayer and that you are very aware that we care deeply for you as a shepherd cares for his sheep.

Jesus as a Shepherd had been successful because he works with his sheep and his sheep work with him. Whenever he offers them anything they will take it. When says there is Bible study on Thursday they are there. When he says Sunday after church we have Sunday school, you will see all the sheep participating. Whenever he says there is a program to bring more people to the church, all the sheep put hands together to run it. They all go out to win more souls. Evangelism is not the business of a couple of people who call themselves committee. Winning souls for Jesus is the responsibility of every baptized person.  

We are all called to have a little shepherd in us. If one of us falls, the rest of us stop and pick him up and put him on our shoulders. If one of us strays, the rest call out and point the way to go find him. Together, we follow Jesus, for there is but one flock, and one Shepherd.